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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fire Damages Family's Peekskill Home

A reported electrical fire broke out early this morning, forcing a family of seven, including a 2-year-old girl, to evacuate their home.

No one was injured in the 2:26 a.m. blaze at 1213 Constant Ave., but it destroyed an upstairs bedroom. Peekskill Fire Chief Lenny Varella Jr. said the fire’s cause was electrical and accidental. Firefighters did not determine exactly how it started. Peekskill and Lake Mohegan firefighters battled the blaze.

Betty McGougain, 58, told The Journal News/ that her 20-year-old son Yaquba was playing video games in his bedroom when the fire broke out.

Everyone else was sleeping, she said, including her 21-year-old daughter, Sara, and 2-year-old granddaughter, Iyanna Roman. They were in the other upstairs bedroom.

Her son rushed downstairs and woke her and her 62-year-old husband James up and told them to get out.

"Ma, Dad, get up there's a fire," she recalls Yaquba saying. "I can't get it out. I can't get it out."

Betty McGougain hurried to the dining room and called 911. Everyone evacuated safely from the home where they've lived for seven years, including her 16-year-old identical twin sons, Ishmail and Esaa, who were in the other downstairs bedroom.

The family has a small fire extinguisher, she said, but no one could figure out how to use it. Firefighters allowed the family back inside this morning and at least two family members slept on couches in the living room.

About 7:45 a.m., water continued to drip from the ceiling onto a tarp firefighters put on Betty McGougain’s bed. Her bedroom is below her son’s. She fears his Peekskill High School diploma that he just earned may have been lost.

"It could have been worse," she said. "Thank God we all got out and are safe."

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